When you talk about density - are you referring to density just inside the downtown peninsula or in Vancouver as a whole? IMO the downtown peninsula is very dense but the rest of Vancouver isn't dense at all. If you drive 5 mins outside of downtown you have nothing but single family homes on decent sized lots. That's the area they need to make more dense… knock down everything west of Main Street and replace it with townhouses and low-rise apartment buildings.
Vancouver doubled down on a all or nothing zoning policy.
You have transit related clusters of very high density land designated for high rise - this will never be affordable, the land costs will always go up lockstep with FSR allowed on site, and construction costs will continue to go up as codes becomes ever more complex, and material costs increase.
You are left with 80% of Vancouver being single family homes. Even though these aren't truly single family anymore, since most are suited, this is far, far from highest and best use.
The solution was to allow reasonable spot rezoning and much more infill.
Examples of this would have been;
- Turn hundredths of corner lots into 3 dwellings
- With this; allow taller structures to allow ground level parking, under units
- Allow row homes
- Allow laneway homes (before 2008 )
- Allow smaller homes
Key here is, do none of the above in broad strokes - allow developers and builders to apply with ideas. This eliminates speculators front running, land hoarding, and driving up costs. Fine example being the Cambie corridor.
All of above, combined with 3-4 story mid rise buildings could easily alleviate the housing crunch we are in, and go a massive way towards reducing traffic and congestion in the whole region.
That being said - all the above is pie in the sky, chances are slim to none of any of it happening since it would require we upend municipal and provincial politics.